change & challenges

How I Found Healing and Happiness in a Third World Country – Happiness Article

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” ~Jim Rohn For years I dreamed of leaving the winters of Northern Ontario, Canada and basking in the warm golden sun somewhere in Central America from October to May. I would joke with my co-workers every winter “This is my last winter here, I swear!” I did that for years until finally, one year, it was my last winter there. But it wasn’t because it was the…

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How to Love an Addict (Who Doesn’t Love Themselves) – Motivational, Self Improvement Article

I grew up in a family of high-functioning addicts. We looked like the perfect family, but as we all know, looks can be deceiving. No one was addicted to drugs, so that obviously meant that we had no problems. Cigarettes, alcohol, food, and work don’t count, right? I have come to realize that what we are addicted to is nowhere near as important as the admission that we’re addicted to something. When we try to make ourselves feel better by…

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My Pain Was a Gift and a Catalyst for Growth – Happiness Article

“Sometimes pain is the teacher we require, a hidden gift of healing and hope.” ~Janet Jackson I was becoming more and more confused as to what my feelings were toward my husband. Longing for that personal adult male connection, I started to feel trapped in my marriage. However, I still had a very strong sense of our family unit and my commitment to it. I wasn’t going to do anything to jeopardize the family, even if it meant sacrificing my…

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Your Emotions Will Not Drown You; They Will Save You – Happiness Article

“You weren’t built to be calm, cool, and collected all the time. If you were, it wouldn’t feel so exhausting.”~Ryan O’Connell  There’s a lot of talk nowadays about “highly sensitive people” and “empaths.” It can be difficult for people who don’t relate to these labels to understand, or even believe what more sensitive folks experience. As a culture, we’re just beginning to grasp what sensitivity is and how to manage our energy. What Sensitivity Actually Is It’s easy to get…

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Acceptance Is Not Passive; It’s the Path to Peace – Motivational, Self Improvement Article

“The price of our vitality is the sum of all of our fears.” ~David Whyte  Acceptance by its very nature is imperfect; it’s messy and often unpleasant, while ultimately leading to a place of growth, a sense of freedom, and a life familiar with ease. I know this because I have had a lot of painful acceptance in my life, and it has been crucial to helping me move beyond the stuckness of fear and suffering. Years ago, being the…

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What Helps Me Put Things in Perspective – Happiness Article

“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” ~Douglas Adams The Buddha famously said that life is full of suffering. While I acknowledge there is much suffering in the world, for my privileged life in the West, I like to think…

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When People Want to Help but Just Make Things Worse – Motivational, Self Improvement Article

When I was fourteen years old, my family spent a week of vacation in the northwoods of Minnesota. We rode horses, sailed on the lake, sang songs around a campfire, and all the other things most teenagers tell their parents is lame. Even if they are having fun. After this week of boring, according to me, my family loaded up into our van and began what should have been a five-hour drive home. Except it wasn’t five hours. Thirty minutes…

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How I Found Hope and Inspiration After Years of Quiet Desperation – Motivational, Self Improvement Article

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” ~Henry David Thoreau How many years do we live with a sense of quiet desperation, faking the connection we have with ourselves? Why do we deny ourselves authentic living and exchange our time for mindless living? Over the years, life silently and slowly eroded my identity away. By the time my son was twelve years old, I’d completely lost touch with reality.…

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The Negative Impact of Not Feeling Your Feelings – Happiness Article

“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” ~Sidney Banks I spent most of my life scared of my feelings. Having feelings and expressing them made me mentally ill—or so I was led to believe by a large number of mental health professionals. When I felt sad, they labeled me as depressed. When I showed any signs of anxiety, they gave me another list of mental health disorders…

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My Favorite Tip to Ease the Pain of Grief – Happiness Article

“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now…with its aches and its pleasures…is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” ~Pema Chodron Many people like to think of grief as an emotional experience. It’s something that dominates your internal, emotional space, and that’s it. But it doesn’t take long when you’re in the thick of grief to experience grief that isn’t emotional at all. You…

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When Someone You Love Is Grieving: How to Really Help – Happiness Article

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~Henri Nouwen It’s hard to stand at the edge of someone else’s grief. There’s the awkwardness. You always feel a little like an uninvited guest who arrived late and…

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Why My Abuse Is No Longer a Secret – Happiness Article

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ~Anne Lamott To say I had a tough life would be a gross understatement. Growing up in a strict Catholic Italian family I endured my fair share of emotional and physical abuse. I was unloved and suffered great violence at the hands of both my parents, mostly my father. No one ever talked about this. On…

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How I’m Mothering the Wounded Kid Inside Who Just Wanted Love – Motivational, Self Improvement Article

“Bless the daughters who sat carrying the trauma of mothers. Who sat asking for more love and not getting any, carried themselves to light. Bless the daughters who raised themselves.” ~Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo “I failed you…” My mother said this to me after I confronted her about my childhood. That day, I had a clear image of the young girl I was, the girl I had tried to ignore in the hopes of moving forward. But pain…

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How to Replace Body-Hate with Self-Compassion – Happiness Article

“Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.” ~Unknown I’ve spent most of my life struggling with my weight and trying desperately to fit the idealistic image of beauty that our culture celebrates. As a young teen, I was obsessed with magazines and all their secrets to be prettier and have a better butt and get your crush to notice you. I see now how desperate I was at such a young age to feel beautiful. Nothing seemed to work, though, as…

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